When starting out in business there’s a number of things to consider – first off it’s the business activity (usually this lightbulb moment has already occurred). Secondly it’s the structure of your business which you must think of – are you a sole trader, partnership or limited company? There’s a host of options available but often when launching that start-up the key is to be selfish in doing so. It’s not often that I’d suggest being selfish but the art of doing so means that we often get to focus on doing something which for once is right for us and our business. Many of us come into working for ourselves from a background of being tired of working for others – it’s all about wanting to discover something new and benefit from the newfound freedom. It’s not uncommon to find ourselves launching a business on the side of a current commitment, where some of us are young entrepreneurs studying for a degree others are discovering what it is to be the one in the control seat alongside that nine to five. It’s all about proportional control – where to fit it in and how to love what you do without sacrificing other commitments.
The perfect example is Wellness Books Ltd – a small book company which vents its creative specialties through a host of online stores such as Book Corner UK, this is my baby and it represents something which had me change course (some may say something which happened as a result of me changing course). I had turned one business into something seasonal to free up time for this new and exciting company which could be run quite passively alongside my degree. It took the help of a loved one to upload books and catalogue, someone who is soon to be paid and employed by the company for his efforts as well as my own direction to make this company a success in its first few months. This business runs beautifully with my long commute and also my Pharmacy Degree, it isn’t too demanding on time where I simply have to order books in and ship them out effectively and allows me to study and travel without interruption. But what does it take to run a business alongside a commitment so large as a degree? For one thing you really need to make sure that you choose the right business model alongside something which you can be convinced you’ll enjoy.
As I studied part-time last year I had time for the wonderful experience that was Lucy’s Sweet Treats, getting orders for freshly baked bespoke cakes and cupcakes in one a joy and shipping them out was even better with the exception of one incident on the part of the postal service, however my degree and method of study was conducive to this – something which it isn’t now. In a highly demanding degree launching a business on the side can seem a little daunting and even tiring but it can be so much better than getting a part-time job namely because you get to fit business activities in around your own schedule. I couldn’t imagine having a part-time job now which would have me working on the evenings from 5pm-10pm and later only to have to wake up 4.30am to get my train. It quite simply would be too much yet my small online book company ticks all the boxes – with the initial set-up such as paperwork, wholesale agreements and e-commerce solutions covered it takes very little to run this business and it is perfectly manageable on the side.
With this trend many universities have launched student entrepreneur clubs and societies, although these are great I’ve always thought that they can act as a distraction – not only can they encourage students to compete against each other but it’s hard to envision that they encourage students to lead long term businesses which not only provide them with an income but also something which allows them to evoke passion throughout their degree and business ventures. Granted this isn’t true of all societies as many do offer good support mechanisms to encourage student entrepreneurs to grow their businesses, develop their skill sets and tackle problems head on, this is one of the great examples of such student entrepreneur societies.
Many people consider when they finish school or secondary study that they have to decide … business or a degree? I say both. There are many schools of thought which claim that we can’t have it all, but we can certainly do both if both activities are managed effectively and doesn’t this principle apply to every aspect of life? Whether it be business, family or studying it’s important to get the balance right and when we manage this there’s never any reason we can’t enter onto a whole new path of study and open up that dream store at the same time.